Miles at My Side

When next we meet, farewell we shall not say
Whether sleet or storm or blue of sun scorched day
I too would stay beside you every step
My fellow traveler, my heart’s desire you kept

That place, that night when I could run no more
Encouraged by your traveling friend support
Kind words dug deep in sharing hard fast truth
And silence while they settled yet unsoothed
That night all light was stricken from the sky
Was I night blind, my friends kind words the guide
This trail we chose a blackened cold highway
You, my friend, at my side did stay

That hill, that peak that I could not bear climb
A frosted ribbon ascending snow ridge line
In dance, like Spring, you bound to meet the grade
A jubilation playful game you made
Uphill, up swell of joy my hand you claimed
Whose eager ease fanned my dimming flame?
Making light of night’s rough darkened sea
My friend who ran one hundred miles with me

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It’s Day 18 of the NaPoWriMo Challenge and the prompt for today is to first, find a poem in a book or magazine (ideally one you are not familiar with). Use a piece of paper to cover over everything but the last line. Now write a line of your own that completes the thought of that single line you can see, or otherwise responds to it. Now move your piece of paper up to uncover the second-to-last line of your source poem, and write the second line of your new poem to complete/respond to this second-to-last line. Keep going, uncovering and writing, until you get to the first line of your source poem.

The original poem I used is A Mile With Me by Henry Van Dyke. This poem is for Sara who ran every step of the Umstead 100 with me.

Half Wit Laces

running is stupid
the cold seeps deep
into the bones
it snows
a hundred miles
is a dumb idea
gut bombs bloat
blisters form
ultra-distance runs
are ultra-wrong
in shadow nights
visions stir
so run for fun
stay on roads
don’t let babies
set trail goals

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Happy Monday. Welcome to Day 16 of the NaPoWriMo challenge. Today’s challenge is to write a poem that prominently features the idea of play. It could be a poem about a sport or game, a poem about people who play (or are playing a game), or even a poem in the form of the rules for a sport or game that you’ve just made up.
Having just completed Umstead 100 I’m reminded of the thoughts that stream through my head in the middle of the night at about mile 75. At those moments it’s challenging to remind myself that running is fun.

Canyons

It’s only 62 miles, I keep telling myself
It’s only 14,000 feet up and 14,000 feet down
Only five canyons, 17 stream crossings and thousands of poison oak daggers
Just one sunrise, one high noon, one sunset, and one waning crescent moon
It’s just a race, I keep telling myself. It’s just a race
with just one finish line

Assault on the Summit

First sound of the blast my heart skips a beat matching the pace of the crowd scampered feet

Ahead this long serpent my step in its grasp winds a headlamp lit chain as it ascends the mountain rampart

The moon on the right, the left horizon dawns in rose gold haze reminds me of sunsets from long gone beachcomber days

I know I must climb off this worn valley floor where the people stand by in great cheer and cry and cheer more

Assault on the mountain my comrades and I climb up through the clouds where the stars dot the sky

And dare I try

Long burning breaths fill my chest with piercing cold air that seems unnecessarily unnatural at this God forsaken early hour

That I had ever hoped for this, wished for, prayed for, set aside my dreams for, that anyone would chose such a journey

Seems increasingly crazed in this dim light of day where others are chatting and slapping behaving deranged

Let me go home to my spot on the couch where the cat curls on my blanket green fleece in my indented seat

Let me give way to the buckets and lists that pretend to inspire but are more to perform great feats for the crowd

There is little I need to accomplish right now that cannot be done from a friendly bar stool at my neighborhood stop

But forward I climb, my feet churning the mill follow this hidden desire to the flag topped outcrop at the top of the hill

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It’s Day 27 of the NaPoWriMo challenge. Today’s challenge is to write a poem with very long lines.

T-Minus Four

There’s noise, white noise,
Swirling in my brain
Of things that must be packed and planned
Lists checked in black pen
Then check again

The voice says flee
That rattles in my head
The one that whispers cautions in my ear
Then tosses me from my bed
In heart pounding dread

A palm sweat rises
From deep within my chest
It courses to the surfaces tinged with fear
Raging torrents of the quest
To do my best

The challenge once chose
With flip casual commit
Now stares me at the brink of win or lose
A ready self without excuse
I lace my shoes

Masochists

They’re looking at me again
In dark corners I see them paired up
whispering that I’m ugly, too fat, without style
And yet you chose me first
Sometimes for a nice long walk
or inappropriately even on a date
Which makes them click their heels, flap their tongues
and whisper even more
But they don’t know how tough you are
how much you expect
The miles and mountains I will cross for you
suffer crushing blows to give you comfort
stability and support in challenging times
through the rat race, through the storm
And still you complain that I rub you wrong
Will you tire of me
after you’ve tread my soul thin?
And though I feel tied to you
there’s always something between us
A thin separation that gives me ponder
If you appreciate me, sometimes I wonder
when you toss me aside, reaching for another
flimsy, flip, flop, floozy you claim gives you space
But here I wait, battered and worn
until tomorrow when you chose me first

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This poem is written by my Montrail Mountain Masochists trail shoes who have gone miles with me.

Miwok

The dank, dark, foggy marine air
Sends tickles up my nose
Somewhere off a fog horn blares
A sea serpent snout blow

Headlamp beams dim night time stars
My shiver waits the gun
While fellow runners surge the start
Butterflies fill my run

First flutter step, keeps time with crowd
Turns single clip, clop, stride
Farewell to them I wish out loud
And settle down my pride

Ocean crashing vistas break
Through silent dawn of day
Morning birds in song awake
The ridge above Drakes Bay

Redwoods block the rising sun
Drip canopies of green
Forest scented needle run
Trickling stone lined stream

Crusting salt dries on my face
My legs churn burn uphill
Heavy huff to keep my pace
My body follows will

The race worn day lingers long
A weary sun takes set
But there are miles to scrape along
Before my goals are met

With cut off times creeping close
Dead legs beg me to walk
But finish line is saved for those
Who work for their Miwok

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Today’s poem is for those running Miwok 100k today. It also rounds out the 30 poems in 33 days. The prompt from Day 14 is to write a poem in that you very specifically describe something in terms of at least three of the five senses. So, for example, the poem could carefully describe the smell of something, the taste of something, and the sound of something.